Journalism in the Public Interest

We’re Using a New Service to Convince You to Donate (We Hope)

Starting today, ProPublica is using the Press+ service from Journalism Online to help increase donations from readers. Or at least that's the idea.

When you click on one of our pages, you'll sometimes see a Press+ message asking you to consider making a contribution to help us continue to do what we do -- publish investigative journalism in the public interest, with an eye toward prompting change.

ProPublica's use of Press+ is supported by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which also supports our other efforts to build a sustainable funding base for ProPublica.

If you want to donate to ProPublica directly -- we don't by any means insist that people use Press+ -- you can just click here. Many thanks in advance.

For what its worth…
Rather than “hope” for donations ( a fool’s errand implying an uphill climb), why not educate and VALIDATE your potential donors, instead?

Writing a check and sending it to a black hole (your bank account) creates ZERO tangible connection between you and your would-be donors.

A better way to generate the “connection” between yourself and your readers IS TO CREATE ONE!

You need to create a sense of “equity-ownership” between what your reader/cutomer(s) WANT…And the product you ACTUALLY DELIVER. At the moment, you are throwing darts in the dark regarding your customer’s desires.


Instead of asking for money carte-blanche, how about…

Asking your subscribers/potential donors WHAT THEY WANT TO READ ABOUT ...and then, based upon their input, GIVIE IT TO THEM.

Make a tangible connection between their payment…and the “product” they receive back for that payment!

Give them a list of topics you are “considering” writing about…Ask them to prioritize which are most important to them…

Better yet, ask THEM to provide YOU with a list of topics THEY want to read about…

You could even provide a unique pin number to each person who does donate, so that they are RECOGNIZED for having suggested/supported a particular topic or topics of special interest to them…

IE: :
“Jersey John 123” a PRO PUBLICA CONTRIBUTOR writes XYZ in response the this article…

You need to make a “connection” between the PERSON behind the contribution…and the resulting product you produce ON BEHALF OF LIKE-MINDED PERSONS…

Or…you could simply choose to continue to ignore human nature and the more than adequate techogies at your disposal…and continue to rattle your cup for lose change.

Good luck to you. Sincerely.

John Sedarat
Medford Lakes, NJ

Boris Matthews

Nov. 23, 2010, 9:01 a.m.

John Sedarat’s suggestions make some sense, but I would not be happy to have ProPublica turn into a “convenience mart” for my favorite investrigative stories.
    By all means, create a way for readers to make regular donations. I’ve written checks (i.e,, made contributions via credit card), and I do that from time to time.  I would be pleased to make automatic monthly contributions, so what ProPublica is setting up may facilitate that.
    The idea to link stories to contributor’s interests (via pin or something like that) might make sense. It would, however, increase staff time on maintaining the website and take time away from the mission of investigating.
    A friend just sent me a note that 51 of the world’s largest economies are corporations. That would be an important story to follow, especially when including links or information on how to push back against the corporate take-over of the planet.

Boris Matthews
Sun Prairie, WI

Have you thought about selling a product? In a lot of cases, people exchange money for goods and services.

Boris Matthews

Nov. 23, 2010, 2:45 p.m.

Hello, MattyMatt. As it now is, ProPublica is delivering a service—information that is important in knowing what is going on behind the scene. The “product” could be (if people would read and think) a better informed public. That’s good enough for me, and something I am ready to contribute to.
Boris Matthews
Sun Prairie, WI

Solomon Kleinsmith

Nov. 23, 2010, 5:17 p.m.

I use a couple of your articles a week on my site… and at the end of each post I add a link to your donation page. I think you would get at least SOME more money if you made a donation button show up at the bottom of every article that was republished.

I’d also suggest a “Subscription”, so people could give you a small monthly donation, as if they were supporting a monthly magazine on their Kindle… and have some perks that go with that… maybe getting reports a day before everyone else, or the ability to get them on the Kindle… or hell, why not actually have a subscription on the Kindle?

I consider my subscriptions to the magazines I get, and the Washington Post, donations to keep journalism alive. I’d tap into that however you can.

I attempted to comment and said that i will contribute when Pro Publica comments on Eric Cantor and his allegiance to Isreal above the president on the USA. I was not allowed access.

ProPublica is such an amazing service to have in this day of sleeze media.I do not subscribe to the suggestions that you cater to perceived reader interests (a type of new thinking which deserves a short life). However, I do very much like the model used by Public TV and Radio, We get everything for free, but we regular donors are proud to say we are “members”. I would love to say that I am a member of ProPublica each time I tell someone about your site and its great reporting.

I concur with Mr. Gurley. I have informed friend and family alike concerning many matters that might not be reported in the same light in other sites.
I will at this time cease to be a “deadbeat” and give what I can afford.
Thank you to ALL associated with this organization, please be safe and aware of your surroundings at all times, as some subjects you cover (non-prejudiced I might add) could possibly lead to some wrong doing (if you know what I mean).
Please keep up the tremendous work and know you will be in my prayers. Mahalo!!!!!

Sorry, but I was unable to donate. After typing (pecking) in all my info and designating a $20 donation (OTHER as I simply cannot afford any more at THIS time due to me having shoulder replacement surgery 4 days ago and trying to keep my home) Screen came up and said my donation was not accepted as I had not donated minimum which I believe is $50. You will most likely receive that amount and more from me, just not all at once. Can you help with this situation? Mahalo!!!!!

Robert Tarkenton

Nov. 29, 2010, 1:06 a.m.

1)  I would gladly contribute an ongoing payment of $10/month, just as I do for NPR. 

2)  Journalism IS a service, and as such, payment in exchange for your consumption is fair.

3)  I don’t come to ProPublica because they publish the stories I WANT to read.  People already use the internet as a filter to keep out all the news that disagrees with their worldview.  I don’t want another echo chamber.  ProPublica should continue publishing the stories they feel are important, to the best of their ability.  And the people who appreciate deep and fair reporting should continue to read them, and to contribute what payment they can.

Get Updates

Our Hottest Stories